JEJU, South Korea, Three foreigners were given suspended prison terms on Friday for faking asylum applications earlier this year.
The Jeju District Court sentenced a 34-year-old Indian man to one year in prison, suspended for two years, for violating the immigration law and obstructing justice with a deceptive scheme.
The man, who arrived on South Korea's largest island of Jeju on March 26 this year without a visa, applied for asylum with the Jeju Immigration Office on March 30 by submitting doctored documents that falsely said he had been persecuted for a religious reason in his home country, according to the court's ruling. Since 2002, Jeju has operated a visa-free program to boost tourism on the resort island.
On April 3, he was granted asylum and issued an alien registration card that allowed him to move to other areas of South Korea.
The man helped two Sri Lankan men -- one 35-year-old and the other 34-year-old -- to obtain refugee status using the same trick he used for his case -- falsely claiming they would be persecuted if they returned home -- and received US$1,100 from them.
The two Sri Lankan men gained refugee status and alien registration cards from the local authorities.
Under Friday's ruling, the Sri Lankan men were sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years.
The court suspended the sentences, positing that the men have no criminal records in South Korea and are likely to be deported to their countries of origin.
Source: Yonhap News Agency